Practice: A Novel (Hardcover)

Practice: A Novel By Rosalind Brown Cover Image

Practice: A Novel (Hardcover)


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An astonishing first novel about a day in the life of a young student who experiences her thoughts, fantasies, and wishes as she writes about—or tries to write about—Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Rosalind Brown's Practice shows us just one day. Annabel, sitting in her small student room, attempts to write an essay about Shakespeare. She follows a meticulous, solitary routine but finds it repeatedly thrown off course as the day progresses: by family and friends who demand her attention and time, by thoughts of her much older boyfriend and his impending visit, by wild sexual fantasies and stories of her own invented characters—and by darker crises, obliquely glimpsed but capable of derailing Annabel's carefully laid plans.

Rosalind Brown was born in 1987, grew up in Cambridge, England, and now lives in Norwich. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, Best British Short Stories 2017, Lighthouse, Ambit, MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture, and Propel Magazine.
Product Details ISBN: 9780374613013
ISBN-10: 037461301X
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English

Advance Praise

[A] gorgeously written debut . . . Brown’s attentiveness to the suppleness of language and the poetry of everyday life makes this slim novel absolutely transporting . . . A brilliant and keen work about being fully alive.
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Exerts a strange fascination . . . Practice is funny, intense and strangely gripping; after all, it’s the non-events—stray thoughts and ignoble bodily needs among them—that form the texture of a life.”
—Suzi Feay, Financial Times

“Annabel aspires to ‘understand subtle, fragile things.’ This might be an apt description of Practice too . . . A touching portrait of an ordinary life and ‘what happens when repeatedly nothing happens.’”
—Camille Cassidy, The Spectator

"A novel spectacularly committed to a young woman's intellectual and bodily appetites, written in exact and tender prose."
—Sarah Moss, author of The Fell

"If Practice is a novel about wrestling with discipline, it's equally about the generative opportunities of distraction and a meditation on the wellsprings of creativity . . . Brown treats us to some firecracker phrases . . . Brown's skill in turning words is evident."
—Katherine Waters, The Telegraph

“Initially at least, Practice feels like the musings of a creative writing student—but that might be the point of this fine debut . . . in pithy yet heightened prose. The student’s methodical approach to her work and life is brilliantly shattered by Brown’s ability to throw a shocking line into proceedings, so that what begins quietly becomes a compelling insight into the recesses of the human mind.”
—Ben East, The Observer (UK)

“From the narrowest and most confined of premises, Rosalind Brown has conjured a novel as big as a world. Reading this book is a strange and shimmering joy; a glimpse of a miracle.”
—Jon McGregor, author of Reservoir 13

Practice totally won me over, not least on account of its many passages of exquisite writing.”
—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Practice won me round with its good writing. A beautifully written meditation on the contentments of reading. Rosalind Brown feels like the real thing.”
—Andrew Miller, author of Pure

Practice is rich and precise and intelligent. I started counting up paradoxes: a novel about restriction that stages beautiful questions about fantasy; a novel limited to a single day that swoops among time frames; a novel where containment allows for bravura stylistic power. It’s a unique novel, and Rosalind Brown is a unique – and wonderful – novelist.”
—Adam Thirlwell, author of The Future Future